A divorcée was swept off her feet by a flashy businessman who flew her to Rome – but she claims he ran off with her millions after forging her signature on documents.
Catering entrepreneur Rhona Silver, who used to own the huge Huntington Townhouse, was introduced to Barry Newman in 2003 and became enamored with him after a series of extravagant dates.
But after Silver, who is in her 50s, trusted the real estate developer to handle her finances, including oversee the sale of the 18-acre catering hall on Long Island.
Now, she is suing Newman for $25.9million, alleging that he forged her signature on documents for the sale of the hall, the New York Post reports.
According to the lawsuit, Newman secured a $38.5million deal on the famous property in 2007, which during its lifetime hosted Presidents and Governors at events in its 12 ballrooms.
But Silver claims she had no idea about the sale – which occurred at the offices of Newman’s lawyer – and her signature had been faked.
A forensic document examiner wrote in an affidavit that two sets of the sale’s closing documents have three signature lines which show Silver’s name – all identical.
But the examiner says at least one of the signature blocks must have been forged as ‘no person signs his name exactly the same way twice.’
Silver says she fell for Newman, who she thought was her ‘dream man’ after he promised her: ‘I’m going to take care of you and your family forever.’
‘I had no reason not to believe him,’ she told the Post.
For their first date, he had flown her on a private jet to Boston for seafood. This was followed by a visit to Rome for Italian food.
He took me to Valentino shopping, to the Spanish steps, bought my daughter a fur pocketbook,’ she added.
In her lawsuit, she says she was supposed to make $6million in the sale, but got nothing and is now reliant on friends to support her, the suit states.
Newman’s attorney says there is no truth in the claims.
In court documents, Newman says he came into Silver’s life to aid a ‘damsel in distress’, but adds that claims that he ripped her off are a ‘blatant fraud’.